using DFS with CIFS shares on SAN (Netapp in my case)


We are about to move from Windows File servers to using Netapp Filers for CIFS shares, I want to continue to use DFS for the flexibility it offers however i have not used it in a Non windows file server scenario before.

I understand from researching that the DFS root must be on a Windows file server however the actual data shares can target CIFS shares on the netapps.

My questions are,

We have 2 filers, one at Prod site and 2nd at DR site, the data will be replicated to the DR site, One of the benefits of using all Windows file servers is the DFS handles the replication etc, however as i cant use this what is the best way for me to point DFS at DR netapp in a disaster.

2. Can you use Access based Enumeration

I would be interested to hear from anyone who is using DFS in conjunction with external storage

Who is Participating?
netapp based DR scenario:
You should not use DFS replication with Netapp replication (Snap Mirror)
Because netapp snap mirror works with only one way replication (That is why it is useful in DR scenario)
Check your own question on the similar topic

If you wanted to use DFS with Netapp SAN, then you have to have Netapp LUNs mapped as drive on DFS server (Ex: D: or E: drive and not IP based storage or storage that is getting accessed by \\IP) and you have to have separate LUNs mapped on each DFS server who wanted be part of DFS replica
With DFS you can use Access based enumeration because it is windows native feature that you can enable with DFS windows shares and shares will get created on windows servers hopefully though SAN LUNs which are mapped there as drives.

if you wanted to use DFS for DR scenario:
1st of do not use snap mirror replication (Netapp based)
You have to create one more AD site with ADC (DR site and DR DC) and also require one more file server.
Then you need to establish DFS replica on DR server with mesh topology so that both replicas will remain writable and can replicate contents bi-directional
Also both file servers need to be added as name space servers in DFS in order to have redundancy from DR respect.
Your active directory subnet for DR site must be latched to DR site only because DFS is AD aware application and clients by default will get connected to DFS server targets in his own AD site and if that server gone down, they will get connected to DR DFS server as fail over server

For Ex: \\\MYDFS is the primary DFS name space

Under this name space there are two folder targets for two servers

In above folder targets Userdata is shared folder that is getting replicated to both servers and can be accessed in case any of server failure

user will access folder with \\\UserData, then if \\ProdServer\UserData got down, user will be redirected to \\DrServer\UserData automatically after some time depending upon there referrals setting in DFS folder targets

Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
With DFS you can use the Netapp as a leaf if using CIFS, otherwise encapsulate the data in a VM on the Netapp or a FC/ISCSI LUN on a physical server.  Netapp can't participate in DFS as it can't run the MS service but as a leaf you can take advantage of all the CIFS snapshots since DFS doesn't do a very good job with versioning (VSS snapshots compared to Netapp snapshots, not even close)
ncomperAuthor Commented:
Hi All

Thanks for the reply's

Unfortunately management here does not believe DFS replication is an enterprise products so we can use it as a namespace e.g \\domain.local\ so its easier to move data around later on.

Paulsolov....When you say leaf do you mean a target CIFS share so on my Netapp i will create a CIFS share called \\netapp\Userdata and configure that as a target in DFS so users would then access \\domain.local\userdata

ncomperAuthor Commented:
I will continue to test the above options and add feedback as appropriate to update
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
As a life I mean that in a DFS environment it can be as an outlier but not participate in DFS
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